We’ve been so excited to feature Amanda and Shun’s recent Starry Night Session with our photographer Steven at one of our favorite Florida State Parks, Kissimmee Prairie Preserve! Now typically, summer is not our favorite season as photographers. It’s getting hot outside, which means our couples tend to get tired quickly, or start sweating pretty fast, not to mention our equipment starts melting LOL! However, for those of us who love photographing the night sky, it’s the most exciting time of the year, and we’ll tell you why in a sec. :)
We met Amanda and Shun at a bridal show recently, and were the lucky winners of a complimentary engagement session with us! We scheduled a phone call to get to know each other, and we instantly became friends! We somehow got on the topic of starry nights and light pollution (not hard when talking to Steve), and they became enamored with our Starry Night Sessions! They ended up booking one with us by the end of our conversation, and we started planning our session later in the year!
Now when you plan a Starry Night Session with us, there are many factors that go into a successful session, but the biggest one is planning around a new moon. It’s critical that the moon is not present in the sky for our photos, so we planned for mid May! We picked the closest official dark-sky location, Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park! This Florida State Park was the very first park in Florida to be designated as a Dark-Sky Park by the International Dark-Sky Association! This designation helps preserve the park’s mission of protecting their night from light pollution, thus helping preserve their wildlife and culture! Even though it’s the closest dark sky park, it’s a hefty two-hour drive from Downtown Orlando, so it’s a commitment of time for sure! We arrived at the park and once we met in person and got our gear ready, we began exploring the park during the day; very much like our traditional daytime engagement sessions!
We mean it when we say that this park is just as beautiful during the day as it is at night. There’s such an endless amount of scenery around which to photograph, and wildlife is constantly making appearances around us while we’re capturing! We ended up photographing right up to sunset, having a great time getting to know Amanda and Shun, especially swapping stories about how they met and what they’re planning for the big day! They finished their daytime session with a quick impromptu dance in the grass!
As the sun was setting, we got a quick campfire started, and Shun was having a great time roasting hot dogs over the fire! Had to snap a shot of that! The sunset was gorgeous that night, so we ran out quick for a silhouette before we relaxed by the fire and waited for the 2nd half of the session to begin!
As twilight surrounded us, we started to see the stars emerge. It was a fun game to wait 15 minute intervals, then walk back out and see what the sky was up to. We started to see constellations, satellites, even the occasional shooting star! Once it was dark enough and past twilight, we grabbed all of our photo gear and walked out into the natural prairie to start our Starry Night portraits! Amanda and Shun did a FANTASTIC job holding still and posing through this process, which can be difficult considering how naturally dark it is outside! We loved their reactions when they looked up, and believe it or not, we got so lucky with some chilly weather at night! We’re also super thankful that we could score such a cool night in May, since we get to gaze into the center of our Milky Way Galaxy on summer nights! Check out how commanding it is, hovering above Amanda and Shun in their starry night photos!
And YES, you can absolutely see it with your naked eye out there! This is another reason that makes Kissimmee Prairie such a special place for us; not to mention the sounds of owls, frogs, crickets, and even coyotes off in the distance. A trip to Kissimmee Prairie is truly a trip back in time…to a time without lights, when we lived next to nature, and weren’t so afraid of the dark. We can’t thank Amanda and Shun enough for sharing this dark sky adventure with us, and we hope this has meant something truly special to them! We can’t get enough of sharing starry nights with our couples!!✨✨
Tags: dark sky photographer, international dark sky association, kissimmee prairie preserve state park, kissimmee prairie weddings, milky way galaxy, milky way wedding photographer, starry night photography, starry night session